No complaints from Chris Hughton after Norwich City crash out of the Capital One Cup
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Chris Hughton is adamant tonight’s painful 4-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final exit to Aston Villa will not derail Norwich City’s Premier League survival bid.
The Canaries’ saw their Wembley dreams crushed by Paul Lambert on his first return to his old club, but Hughton is confident his dejected players will get back on track against Wigan at Carrow Road this weekend.
Steve Morison’s early opener was cancelled out by Brett Holman before Andreas Weimann’s late brace and Christian Benteke’s stoppage time strike ruthlessly ended City’s 10-game unbeaten run.
“We have a group of lads who have been through it before,” said Hughton. “We are not going to win every game at this club and fortunately for us we had been on a great run. At some stage that was going to end. They are good enough professionals. They know we have to be better at the weekend and they also know there is a real good opportunity at home to put things right. The players are down and disappointed because it was a semi-final at stake. The changing room is down but what we mustn’t do is take away what they have achieved in the last couple of months and how good the team have been. It is my responsibility to make sure we get back on track.”
Hughton was magnanimous in his praise for Lambert’s young outfit.
“I can’t fault the endeavours but we have to take it on the chin,” he said. “We knew that everything for us is this season is going to be a challenge. We have probably surprised a few people with the run we have had. It is important the players now get some rest and go again. It is not as if we were playing a poor team tonight. They were also in good form, they are young and energetic. They are a decent Premier League team and although we were at home we have probably been beaten by the better team.
“Did we want to go through? Yes, absolutely we wanted to go through but our priority is to make sure we have got Premier League status next season. These type of defeats you have to take it on the chin and you have to learn from it. The disappointing thing is we did concede goals but we had opened up so much to get back in the game. I don’t think it is a true reflection of how we have defended for most of the night. Good luck to Aston Villa.”
Hughton admitted City paid for failing to take their own clear-cut chances in an action-packed quarter-final.
“We had plenty, but I think it just came down to the pivotal moments in the game and we had to make sure we held onto that lead for longer than we did in the first half,” he said. “We had a great couple of chances in the second half and if they go in then it is a different game. It became very open in the end because we needed to try and get back into the game and it became I suppose a typical end-to-end cup-tie. In the areas that mattered they obviously showed more than what we did. If you look at their finishes they were all good.
“Shay Given pulled off a great save from Grant Holt and Morison had a chance early in the second period. It was a game where you had to take the chances. They are a good side and they use the space really well. We needed to use it better at times and when we needed to show some composure in that second half we gave the ball away a little bit too cheaply and we conceded poor goals, which is not like us.”